JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Medical professionals in Mississippi want lawmakers to pass a bill that would decriminalize fentanyl test strips.

The strips are currently considered as drug paraphernalia in the state.

House Bill 722 argues that the test strips would save thousands of lives each year.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2022. The agency said a majority of those deaths were caused by fentanyl.

Dr. Randy Easterling, with Harbor House Chemical Dependency Services, said many never knew that they were taking the drug.

“I would encourage people to reach out to their state senator and their representatives. These test strips will allow someone to test a pill before they take it to tell them if it has fentanyl in it. We see this a lot with college kids. They’re there at our universities and our colleges across the state. They want to study. They want to stay up two, three days to study for an exam. Somebody says, ‘Here, take an Adderall. Take a Ritalin,’ and it has fentanyl in it, and they don’t know it. They take it, and they’re dead,” Easterling explained.

The Mississippi House passed the bill, and it will move to the Mississippi Senate for a vote.